Characteristics of Gatsby in The Great Gatsby

Characteristics of Gatsby in The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is one of the major characters in The Great Gatsby. One of his core characteristics is that he is determined. The character of Jay Gatsby is that of a deeply flawed and quasi traumatized young man who rose from a poor origin in the farms of North Dakota, to become a lavishly rich man (Fitzgerald, 1925). Gatsby is also manipulative. Living in a gaudy mansion in the fashionable West Egg, Jay Gatsby attempts to manipulate the “better born” others by tapping into their lavish tastes of drink, partying, and oblivious entertainment. These, they all partake into without asking who Gatsby is, or where the money comes from. Nonetheless, Gatsby is ambitious and persistent. He is obsessed with wealth, power, position, and Daisy. Daisy is a symptom of her time; a product of that society that Gatsby wants to be a part of. Gatsby is dishonest since lies about his past and he got his money from participating in illegal mob activities. When it comes to his personality Gatsby is a great example of a self-made man since he invented the character ‘Jay Gatsby.’ Even though he lies about his past, Gatsby is always candid in his relationship with others. Among his major values are love, friendship, and persistence.

The reason why Fitzgerald dubs his main character “Great” is that Jay represents the American ideal of greatness for that time, and perhaps even now. He could get away from his circumstances and transform into a new person (Fitzgerald, 1925). He was considered “great” by the standards of a shallow upper class, who enjoyed his “great” parties, his “great” glamour, and all that other “great” things.

Key Quote: “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom
and say: “I never loved you,” (Fitzgerald, 1925, pg. 117).

The above quote means that Gatsby loved Daisy to the extent of wanting to tell her husband that she did not love him. This is revealed through his behavior even though he does not say it loud. This shows that Gatsby was too possessive. He is, in his mind, in love with Daisy, and able to do whatever to get her. Little can he comprehend that time has come in between, along with whatever the tides bring with them.




















Fitzgerald, F. S. (1925). The Great Gatsby. New York City: Charles Scribner’s Sons


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